Written By: Sally Michael
Illustrated By: Nicole Manuel
A WORD TO PARENTS
It is not uncommon for children to experience fear—some fears being reasonable and others unfounded. Things that go “bump” in the night, big dogs, being in a strange place among strangers, and even climbing to the top of a slide or monkey bars can produce anxiety in children. Reasoning with a child about his fears, or simply telling him “not to be afraid” is most often ineffective. So how do parents help children with their fears?
Children need the confidence that there is someone bigger, stronger, and wiser than themselves who will protect and care for them. But more than that, they need the assurance that someone will be there for them—to make everything right, to handle the difficulties they can’t, to accomplish the tasks that are too hard for them, and to navigate the situations that are beyond their experience and ability. Often that bigger, stronger, wiser person is a parent; sometimes it is a grandparent or another adult.
But parents and other adults are not supreme, all-powerful, and all-knowing. Parents and other adults fail children and find situations they can’t navigate well. Only One Person is sufficient to handle all the complexities of the universe and, in particular, the personal world of every child. That Person is God Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of all things. There is common grace that God extends to all His creation and all His creatures. All people are recipients of God’s goodness and care:
…For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
God in His goodness and mercy provides a general care, protection, and provision for all people. This is common grace. Every child is a recipient of common grace. Every child can receive the assurance that there is a big God watching over the universe, keeping the earth in its orbit, holding the sun and stars in the sky, giving life and breath to people, holding back the magnitude of evil Satan would inflict on mankind.
But there is a particular grace or special grace that God extends specifically to His children, those who have claimed Christ as their Savior and have put their confidence in Jesus and committed their lives to Him. To these His children, God has given marvelous and comforting promises. Promises like:
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
—2 Corinthians 12:9
While every person experiences God’s common grace—His love extended to all mankind—the specific promises of particular care and protection belong to the children of God. Look at the conditions associated with promises like these:
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout
the earth to strengthen those whose
hearts are fully committed to him.
—2 Chronicles 16:9a (NIV)
The righteous? How can anyone truly be righteous? The human heart is latent with pride, selfishness, unkindness, envy, bitterness… and a multitude of other sinful attitudes. But Jesus’ perfect righteousness—His perfect obedience to God’s standards and right standing before God—is given to those who trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and turn away from their sins. This blessing of being acceptable to God is only made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Those who are trusting in Jesus and have committed their lives to Him are recipients of the particular promises in Scripture. Your child may or may not be in this category. For those who have entrusted their lives to Christ, there is great assurance in God’s particular care for His children.
Regardless of your child’s standing before God right now, you can assure your child that God is supreme, all-powerful, and all-knowing. You can encourage your child to put his trust in God and not in himself. You can show your child the wonderful promises of God and encourage him to look to God
when he is fearful.
God in His mercy and grace extends His goodness to all who place their trust in Him. This book will show your child that God is trustworthy and that he must look beyond himself to the great God of the universe to give him courage, make him strong, and to help him handle life.
May God give you the grace and wisdom to encourage your child to turn to Him.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
As you read this book, dialogue with your child as he is able. Look at the pictures, talk about fear in general, and ask about your child’s particular fears. Help your child to identify and label what he is afraid of. Then show your child that though his resources are insufficient, God is unlimited. Nothing is too hard for Him. Point your child beyond himself to the all-sufficient sovereign Ruler of the Universe. Read the book often and talk about what is promised in the verses from the Bible. Help your child to understand and ponder the questions on the last page:
Have you told God you want to be His child?
Do you trust in Him as your Helper, Refuge, Hiding Place, and Protector?
Can you say to Him, “You are my God”?
Encourage your child to memorize some of the verses—perhaps those which most specifically are helpful to his particular fears. Help your child to see that the great God of the Universe has made special promises that help us with our fears. These promises tell us that He cares, protects, and gives strength to those who trust Him. Lead him to pray, telling God about his fears, and praising God
for His power, wisdom, and love.
Then, as your child experiences fear in everyday life, remind him of a promise. Encourage him to pray and trust God, and then face his fears in the strength that God provides. Learning to trust God is not an event but a process, so do not get discouraged if your child battles long and hard. Keep pointing him to God and His all-sufficiency.